Campbell GMO Labeling: Begins GMO Labeling

Published: January 10, 2016

Campbell GMO Labeling: Begins GMO Labeling, While other major food companies along with their coalition, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, continue to fight mandatory labeling of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), the Campbell Soup Company will take a different approach. Campbell’s, the company behind Pepperidge Farm, Plum Organics, Prego and the more obvious Campbell’s soups, announced that it will label all GMOs in the company’s products.

The company will begin labeling GMOs in July 2016, to meet Vermont’s GMO labeling law requirements that demand GMOs be labeled within the state as of July 1, 2016.

CEO of the Campbell Soup Company, Denise Morrison, issued a statement that the company made the decision to label GMOs in keeping with the company’s “Consumer First” policy. Because 92 percent of consumer’s are in favor of labeling GMOs, putting the consumer first means labeling GMOs, not fighting the labeling of them.

Meanwhile the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA), Monsanto and other corporate members of the GMA continue their legal battle against the State of Vermont. On June 12, 2014, the GMA filed a lawsuit in federal U.S. District Court in the State of Vermont in an attempt to strong-arm the state into reversing its mandatory GMO labeling law.

The GMA is a “who’s who” of many of the largest food corporations producing “manufactured food” found in grocery stores. Some of its members include: Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, The Hershey Company, General Mills, Unilever, Kraft Foods, Del Monte Foods and the H.J Heinz Company, as well as agri-food/GMO giants Monsanto, Cargill and ConAgra. All of these companies, through their GMA membership and unwillingness to label GMOs in their products continue to battle consumers over their right to know what is in the food they eat. The Campbell Soup Company has openly fought the state-by-state approach to GMO labeling, calling it “incomplete, impractical, and costly to implement for food makers.”

Campbell’s has no plans to remove GMOs from its food products and has already listed on its website those ingredients that are derived from GMO sources. As suspected, they include ingredients made from canola, corn, soy and sugar beets. Instead the company maintains that it is “in no way disputing the science behind GMOs or their safety.” Miller adds: “The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence indicates that GMOs are safe and that foods derived from crops using genetically modified seeds are not nutritionally different from other foods.”

While I respect Campbell’s decision to label GMOs, I disagree with Miller’s comments about the safety of GMOs, which were largely untested prior to their release to consumers. Instead, GMOs were granted “generally-recognized as safe” (GRAS) status by the FDA. GMO-containing tomatoes, for example, were not subjected to any long-term trials to determine the safety to humans or the environment, but were simply considered essentially the same as non-GMO tomatoes. And, the same is true for other GMO-based foods.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared that glyphosate—the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn—a “probable carcinogen.” Roundup Ready corn, or Bt corn as it is also called, is short for Bacillus thuringiensis—a corn made from artificially crossing bacterial genes with corn to create genetically-modified corn that produces glyphosate-based pesticides within every cell. According to scientific assessment, glyphosate, and therefore GMO corn, is linked to: cancers of the pituitary gland, brain, heart, lungs, salivary glands, lymphatic glands, prostate, bladder, thyroid, adrenal glands and skin.

In a study published in Food Chemical Toxicology, scientists at the University of Caen, Institute of Biology, in France found severe effects of GMO corn, even when the pesticide Round-Up was not used. Animals that consumed the GMO corn were studied for two years. In both males and females, the death rate was two to three times higher in those eating the genetically-modified corn, compared to the controls. Females developed mammary tumors and pituitary gland abnormalities while males experienced severe kidney and liver damage as well as premature death of liver cells 2.5 to 5.5 times higher than controls. And there are dozens of other studies that show GMOs have similar effects.

The bigger issue is that manufacturers of GMO seed make it notoriously difficult for independent researchers to legally study the effects of GMO seed. To plant the seed, farmers have to sign a technology user agreement that prohibits the seed buyer from conducting any research on the seeds or from selling the seeds to anyone who will conduct research on them. Consequently, food manufacturers whose products contain GMOs continue to cite the safety of these products when the opportunity to prove their lack of safety barely exists within the marketplace. The GMO seed manufacturers have made it nearly impossible to study the effects of GMOs. And intellectual property laws allowing patents on engineered seed diminishes food safety in favor of intellectual property rights protection. It’s time to put human, animal and environmental safety ahead of corporate trade secrets and profits.

And, if Campbell’s really wants to put consumers first, then labeling is just the start; the company needs to get the GMOs out.


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